jeudi, mai 20, 2010

Facist, or Ignoramus? [the new Rock vs. Hard Place]

Here are some simple facts, the mere listing of which will either make you think I have some kind of insight, because you have preconceived ideas about various issues that cloud your judgement, or fill you with pious rage, because you have deep seated preconceptions on sundry topics that cloud your judgement.

But please keep in mind: these are facts. Mere facts.

In 2010, a border state that had long suffered undeniable ill effects due to an abundance of illegal immigration, passed a law, supported by a vast majority of its citizens. The law was short, 10 to 18 pages, depending upon the printing format. It stipulated simply that it would enforce existing federal statutes. Before it was finalized, language was added--an attempt to prevent racial profiling. A mandate for the training of officers in the prevention of discrimination was included in the bill.

Remember, the state in question made no new policy. It simply offered to enforce existing federal policy.

In the days subsequent to the passage of the bill, protests were mounted by groups all over the country. They called the state racist and said they would boycott the place. They appeared to be really, really angry. When asked if they had read the bill, 99.999% of the angry protesters had NOT read the bill. They had a right to be angry about the bill. They decided to forgo that right, and instead get incensed by a vague idea they created themselves based on heresay.

The Attorney General of the United States said disparaging things about the bill, and threatened to take the state to court. In an embarassing exchange, he later admitted to not ever reading the bill.

The Head of Homeland Security called the bill discriminatory, among other things. In an embarassing exchange, SHE later admitted to having never read the bill.

Commentators lined up to trash a bill, passed in a state where they do not live, by a majority of the people who live there, supported by at least 60% of the nation (depending on the poll). They said it was similar to measures passed in Nazi Germany. Most of them had not read the bill.

Weeks later, in a press conference with the President of Mexico, our president called the bill misguided. He said his administration (most of which were now on record as having not read the bill) was looking into it. He said we need new laws to accomplish noble objectives. For every objective he stated, there is ALREADY a law on the books. So, in essence, he said we should be enforcing existing federal law.

Which is exactly what the "misguided" bill stipulates.

He said immigrants should learn English. He said people here illegally should not be allowed to work. He said they should pay a fine and go to the back of the line.

Almost everything he said has been previously stated by right wing talk show hosts. When stated by said talk show hosts, the sentiments were called racist and xenophobic and discriminatory, and nazi-esque.

I'm not on either side here. Really. These are facts. They do not change according to our preconceived notions. There are certainly other facts we could use to bolster our ideas. Is this about our opinion, or about which facts we choose to accept and/or ignore? I personally don't think my opinion is valuable to your interpretation of the facts.

But if I was to voice an opinion, it would look something like this: I'm glad Arizona passed that law. I don't care what it says, I may not agree with what it says, but I've read it, and it seems to have put a point on a debate that needed a point. I'm amused by all the ignorant ranting on both sides. But at least one side can claim to have read the bill. I'm embarassed by the way the Obama administration jumped out and blathered without being informed. I had hoped that such practices would stop. (If you're not embarassed by it, you are something worse than ill-informed. Wait, that's a fact--this is the opinion part. Sorry.) I'm embarassed by the way the loyal political opposition revels in an administration's embarassment. I resent the way said opposition acts like they ever did anything about this problem.

If Mexicorp had worked (click on it!), this would be a non-issue. Sadly, this is only the beginning.

So here we are, stuck between the facts and a hard road ahead. And now that I look at the facts, I somehow don't feel any better informed, or validated. Or hopeful.

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